For most of his life, Angel has been a migrant worker, helping his family as they move from place to place picking crops. When a phone won't work, Angel enlists "Big Joe's" aid to repair it and from then on a friendship develops. Joe and the boy team up to start a rose-growing business. A call from Angel's father comes, the family must leave. Angel can stay with Joe and the promise of a future, or he can go with his family and continue in the uncertain lifestyle of his parents.
Academy Award (Oscar); Best Live Action Short Film of 1975
American Library Association;Notable Chidrens Film Award
National Education Film Festival Award
Chicago Film Festival Award
Columbus Film Festival Award
Reviewer:Christine Hennig II
March 1, 2017 Subject:
Should He Stay or Should He Go?
This 70s sociodrama features a teenage Hispanic boy who befriends a lonely telephone lineman. The boy is a child of migrant workers and he lives in grinding poverty with his mother and younger siblings in a shack next to the tomato fields they just harvested. His family is waiting from his father, who has gone on to Texas to look for work. Angel befriends Big Joe after Joe fixes the pay phone that the family is waiting for the call to come in on. Angel is desperate to do any kind of work to help out his family, and he eventually convinces Joe to hire him to do odd jobs on his property. A friendship slowly develops between them, as Angel discovers that Joe is a divorced man whose grown son left to join the Navy, leaving him to a solitary existence. Joe had planned to build a greenhouse with his son and start a business raising flowers, but that was abandoned when the son joined the Navy. Eventually, Joe rekindles this dream, having Angel help him build the greenhouse. They raise a crop of roses together and get a good profit for them. At this point, though, Angel’s mother finally gets a call from his father and plans to take the family to join him in Texas. When he tells Big Joe, Joe encourages him to stay and be his business partner, offering to let him live in his house with him. This leaves Angel with a very difficult decision to make: does he stay with Joe and help him with his business, which he enjoys, or does he support his family by going with them to Texas to do more migrant labor, which he hates? This film was made to encourage classroom discussion about the issues it raises. It is quite touching and real; you feel like Angel and Big Joe are real people with real problems. This is a good example of the increasing sophistication educational films developed after the social changes of the 60s.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Reviewer:Robert B. Livingston
January 3, 2012 Subject:
A thoughtful and uplifting short film
The Internet Archive has some gems hidden within it. It is really too bad that it can often be hard to discover them.
Here is one short film really worth seeing. I am writing this review hoping it will get noticed.
If you are searching around looking for something that is not tawdry, pedestrian, or gimmicky-- if you appreciate good acting, and also want to feel a bit more enlightened while being entertained-- try watching this.
And write a short review so this film keeps getting noticed.
Be sure to watch another great film by Bert Salzman here at the Internet Archive: The Shopping Bag Lady.
June 15, 2007 Subject:
A timeless movie
The Internet Archive seems like a good idea. I'm all for giving scholars and historians resources for their work.
But when I viewed Bert Salzman's amazing ANGEL AND BIG JOE, it wasn't as if I were witnessing a classic. Rather, I felt the same way I do when watching the latest first-rate movie: it was pure here-and-now.
Because ANGEL is about realities that are always important to human beings--friendship, family, ambition, loyalty, dreams--this film will never grow old. While it may be of interest to scholars and historians, this short movie will surely be valued by "ordinary" people who simply love to watch great movies.
ANGEL AND BIG JOE is excellent in every way a movie can stand out: story, characterizations, dialogue, acting, cinematography, locations, music, editing.
I've seen the picture several times, and it gets better with each viewing. I believe that audiences in the future will feel the same way. And that's another reason for cheering this Archive.